Welcome back to Scandals' guide to buying sex toys! Last week we looked at the who and where of the matter, so this week is all about what. In other words, the materials sex toys are made up off.
I've tried to summarise the most common materials you'll find in our stores, and included some helpful information about each. So read on to find out which is going to be most suitable for you!
This encompasses the incredibly common jelly toys, as well as those made from TPE/TPR.
First up, jelly toys are usually going to be the cheaper ones you pick up. These are great beginner's toys, especially for someone who hasn't tried something before and isn't sure if they'll like it. They usually have a soft, rubbery texture that is very flexible. Manufacturers used to use phthalates (a non-body safe, toxic substance) as a softener, but this isn't common practise anymore. In any case, it's best if you check the packaging to make sure these toys are listed as phthalate free.
Even if the toy is phthalate free, jelly toys are porous, and therefore can easily trap and breed bacteria. These toys should always be thoroughly cleaned after use, preferably with an anti-bacterial toy cleaner. I really wouldn't recommend using jelly toys for anal play, as they have a habit of hanging on to odours. But if you do want to insert them, either anally or into a vagina, a great idea would be covering them with a condom! It should also be noted that most jelly toys contain latex, so if you're allergic then these should be avoided.
As I said before, jelly toys are ideal if you just want to try something new. It's a perfect material for things like cock rings, which you may want to try out before investing in a more expensive, durable model. Just don't expect these toys to last a life-time, don't store them next to each other (as they can degrade!), and don't use any oil based lubricants with them.
Other rubber toys are made from TPE/TPR, and these are usually labelled as "real skin feel", or something along those lines, and are often fleshlights or extension sleeves. These are more likely to be phthalate free than other jelly toys, but are still porous and therefore need an anti-bacterial cleaner. To maintain their silky texture, toys made of these materials should be coated in a renewal powder after being washed, and should be stored separately from one another and other toys.
Like rubber, there are two main kinds of plastics that sex toys can be made with: PVC or ABS.
PVC toys, like our jelly ones, tend to be on the cheap and cheerful side of things! They can be either hard, solid PVC; or softer, flexible PVC. If they are hard, they are usually non-porous so safe for most play. Softer PVC should be checked to make sure its phthalate free if you plan on inserting it anywhere, and needs the same level of cleaning as jelly toys.
ABS plastic is a much more common plastic in newer sex toys. It is non-porous, non-toxic, and can be coated in PU to create a silkier texture. This is a great material to look out for on higher quality, reasonably priced toys. It's especially good at carrying really powerful vibrations- which I found out when I reviewed the pretty in pink bullet vibrator. Also, if you prefer silicone lubricant to water-based, ABS plastic is a good alternative to silicone vibrators.
I feel like I rave about glass toys a lot in my blog posts, but I think this is a very underrated material when it comes to sex toys. It is very rigid, but a lot of people prefer this if they're going for g-spot or prostate stimulation. There are also a lot of interesting shapes and textures which can be created with glass.
These toys are really easy to sanitise, and can be used with any kind of lubricant. Glass is also temperature sensitive, so it will retain heat or cold. The best way to do is is by placing in a bowl of hot or cold water. This makes it great for sensation play!
Like glass, metal is very easy to sanitise, especially if it is stainless steel, which means it is usually used for medical play toys. Sounding bars and urethral dilators are often made of steel as the heavy material allows them to be pulled gently down by gravity.
It is also an incredibly durable material which is great at dispersing vibrations, so it makes for really high-quality toys like the award winning Little Chroma.
When it comes to a versatile, completely body-safe material, silicone is where it's at. This is a silky soft material which can be made with different levels of density so everyone can find their perfect level of flexibility. Its a particularly popular material for dildos and dongs, which is non-porous and can therefore be inserted anywhere you can think (that you have permission to 😉).
The only problem with silicone is that if it comes into contact with lower grade silicone it will begin to degrade. So all silicone toys should be stored separately and should never be used with silicone lubricant. However, medical-grade or platinum silicone is becoming more common, which most manufacturers claim can't be degraded by other silicones
Above are the most common materials used in sex toy manufacture. However, these aren't extensive! Other materials you will find in our store include Biofeel, a starch based plastic which is used in Gaia, the world's first biodegradable vibrator which is both non-porous and phthalate free.
Another eco-friendly material is wood, which can be used in insertable toys if it has been treated properly, and otherwise makes a great material for impact play.
Finally, you're probably more aware of latex in the context of fetish-wear, but it's also a great material for use in sex toys. In particular, its flexible and lightweight feel makes it perfect for inflatable toys.
I hope this list has been helpful, we at Scandals believe in being as transparent as possible with our customers when it comes to your health and sexuality. We try and list as much information as possible in our product descriptions, but if you ever have any questions about the make-up of a toy you have your eye on, don't hesitate to get in touch through our online chat or email address.